I’ve never gotten into Nascar. In fact, I think the sport is quite useless. You just watch people driving left over and over again. Why are there so many laps? Couldn’t we just save everyone’s time and make it best out of three? And how is it a sport? There’s no exercising like Olympic athletes do. Being able to turn a steering wheel is not a talent.
Maybe it is because I’m from out west or because I’m a girl. Or maybe it’s because no sports have ever held my attention. Whatever the reason, I think I’m in the minority. Loads of people like to race or watch the speedway. Or they know a guy who races or they help out building engines or do the paint jobs or work at the pit stop. It is just a way of life; one I don’t understand now, but hopefully will someday.
What I find interesting is rockhounding. Now there’s a sport that takes some talent. On Monday, we went down to Patrick County, VA to Fairy Stone State Park. Never heard of it? Not many people have. It dates back to The New Deal with President Roosevelt. There used to be an old iron mining boomtown there until they discovered iron could be mined much cheaper outside the U.S. It died just as quickly as it had started. But they dammed the valley making a reservoir and turned the land into a state park.
You can camp, hike, fish, swim, canoe or paddleboat and even attend a farmers market there. They have a man-made beach with a kiddie section and a volleyball net. The grass is lush and cool on your feet. No pinecones or weeds. They have children’s activities several times a day (most are free) and the best part was the prices. It was very affordable and we are extremely picky about paying for things. It was $2.00 per child to swim. Better than the pool prices here. Renting a paddleboat for an hour is $8.00! And it wasn’t even busy. The weather was perfect. We had a blast.
We took a few of Meredith’s and Xavier’s friends and made a day of it with a picnic to boot. Our favorite part was the hunt for the fairystones (the park has that name for a reason). This is the only place in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia to find staurolite: crystals that grow at angles of 45 and 90 degrees. Naturally. Legend says that these are fairy tears. And you can go searching for them (no digging allowed) in the forest and creek bed at the hunt site. Sounds easy right? It was a lot harder than we’d originally thought because they aren’t picture perfect stones like you see on Google. And there are all the other normal rocks competing for your eye as well.
After hiking up the creek and then climbing a hill, we found a rocky opening on a hilltop and hit the mother-load. Not all the crystals had formed angles, some were just straight, but you could tell they weren’t ordinary rocks. They had structure. It was a lot of fun. We each had a baggie full by the time we left. I think I even found a garnet in the mix.
It was a long day, but one of the best trips we’ve ever had. If you ever get the chance to go, do it. You won’t regret it. I promise. It was like a chance to recharge before our life changes for good. Our little pit stop before heading back on the track to keep turning left, wondering when this rat race is going to end and we’ll cross that finish line for good.